Working Together to Make Thompson Island Accessible for Everyone

Making our science programs accessible to all students has always been an important part of our mission. But the wilderness and terrain of Thompson Island can present challenges to making that possible. So when Josiah Quincy School asked if they could bring Tiana, one of their 5th graders who used a wheelchair, for their one-day science lesson, we wanted to make sure it could happen. Through our Corporate Volunteer Program, we had a group from New Balance help widen the path and build a ramp out of rocks to make the beach accessible.

But the true star of this story is Tiana.

Their lesson took students to the Intertidal Zone to discover organisms left behind when the tide goes out. Tiana skeptically got into the all-terrain wheelchair and bumped down the trail to the shoreline. Her curiosity was sparked when a classmate turned over the first rock exposing several scurrying green crabs.

She jumped in her seat and told the instructor pushing her chair to, “Go to that rock!” Leaning over as far as she could without falling, she grabbed onto a rock and excitedly called to her classmates, “Help me flip this rock!” She led the mission by selecting rocks and her fellow students followed by flipping them to expose green crabs, blue mussels, and everything else hidden out of sight. Her courage to try something new inspired all those around her.

Tiana’s teacher said of the experience, “It’s the most enthusiastic [Tiana’s] been in science all year. Field trips don’t always go well for her, so to have this level of excitement on Thompson Island, of all places, is great to see. I’m excited to see how this impacts her learning in the classroom.”